DNA test proves mystery Roma girl's parents

Bulgarian Roma couple are biological parents of four-year-old blonde girl found in Roma camp in Greece, test confirms.

    DNA test proves mystery Roma girl's parents
    Putative mother Sasha Ruseva from Bulgaria says she left a seven-month old baby in Greece in 2009 [EPA]

    DNA tests have confirmed that a Bulgarian Roma couple are the biological parents of a four-year-old blonde girl found in a Roma camp in Greece last week, solving a mystery that had captured global attention.

    Genetic profiles of Sasha Ruseva and her husband, Atanas, matched that of the girl, said Svetlozar Lazarov, an Interior Ministry official on Friday.

    The interior ministry and the prosecution have yet to decide if the parents, who have nine other children and live in the Roma ghetto of the town of Nikolaevo in central Bulgaria, will be detained, the official said.

    Bulgarian prosecutors are investigating whether the mother, Sasha Ruseva, 35, agreed to sell her child in Greece.

    Ruseva denies this, saying she left a seven-month old baby in Greece - where she worked as an olive-picker - in 2009 because she could not look after the child and needed to return to Bulgaria.

    She said lack of any identification documents for the baby as well as poverty and inability to take care of her many children had prompted her to abandon the child and return to Bulgaria.

    She added that she intended to take the girl back but never did.

    "We gave the child for free. I did not take any money. I had nothing to feed her," Ruseva told reporters in Nikolaevo on Thursday.

    Marginalised community

    The four-year-old, called Maria and dubbed the "blonde angel" by Greek media, was found last week hiding under a blanket at a Roma settlement in central Greece.

    DNA tests showed the Roma couple she was with were not her real parents.

    Greek authorities were yet to comment on Friday, while the charity looking after Maria said it would "respect the decision of the prosecutors, whatever that may be".

    The case has come to illustrate the plight of Roma gypsies in Bulgaria, many of whom have spent their lives in poverty, are illiterate and have been marginalised by society.

    There are an estimated 10 million Roma living across Europe, and they are one of its oldest minorities. The Council of Europe, which monitors human rights, says they are also the most discriminated-against.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    The US exaggerating and obsessing about foreign threats seems quite similar to what is happening in Russia.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months